Islander named ‘Trial Lawyer of the Year’ by U.S. Homeland Security

Special Assistant United States Attorney Donald M. Reno Jr. was recently honored as the “Trial Attorney of the Year” by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The award was presented at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., hosted by DHS General Counsel Gus Coldebella.

Reno was honored for his work as lead counsel in the prosecution of a corporation that owns 11 McDonald’s restaurants in Nevada. In July 2008, the corporation, Mack Associates, Inc., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to encourage and induce an alien’s unlawful residence in the United States and one count of aiding and abetting an alien to remain in the United States. The company agreed to a $1 million fine. According to the plea agreement, high level employees of the company hired people who they knew were illegally residing in the United States and provided them with social security numbers which belonged to other people. When search warrants were first served in the case in September 2007, agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) found 58 workers employed illegally. Most of the illegal employees have now been deported.

Reno serves as a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the Western District of Washington. He is an employee of the Department of Homeland Security who is specially designated to handle immigration cases in federal court. Because of Reno’s special expertise and detailed knowledge of immigration law, the Department of Justice requested that he handle the Nevada case, working with investigators from the earliest stages of the case.

“I’m delighted that the Department of Homeland Security is honoring Don Reno with this award,” said United States Attorney Jeffrey C. Sullivan. “Don works tirelessly in a specialized area of the law that often goes unheralded. His selection by DOJ to prosecute the Mack immigration case demonstrates the high value we place on his hard work and ability.”

Reno has served as a Special United States Attorney for more than 25 years, prosecuting high profile cases in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada and Washington. For many years, Reno coached football for the Mercer Island Boys & Girls Club.

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